Livio earned a B.S. degree in physics and mathematics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a M.S. degree in theoretical particle physics at the Weizmann Institute, and a Ph.D. in theoretical astrophysics at Tel-Aviv University. He was a professor of physics at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology from 1981 to 1991, before coming to the Space Telescope Science Institute.
For the past decade Livio has focused his research activities on supernova explosions and their use in determining the rate of expansion of the universe. He has also studied so-called dark energy, black holes, and the formation of planetary systems around young stars. He has authored or co-authored hundreds of papers in refereed journals on these and other subjects in astrophysics. In 2009, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Council elected Livio as Fellow of the AAAS. Dr. Livio was cited for his "distinguished contributions to astrophysics through research on stars and galaxies and through communicating and interpreting science and mathematics to the public." He is also cited in the American Men and Women of Science.
Dr. Livio has been nominated three times as one of the "Nifty Fifty Speakers" by the USA Science and Engineering Festival to speak about his work and career to middle and high school students in 2010, 2011, and 2013. Other honors include: Carnegie Centenary Professor in 2003, Danz Distinguished Lecturer in 2006, Resnick Distinguished Lecturer in 2006, Iben Distinguished Lecturer in 2008, and Terzian Distinguished Lecturer in 2011.